Inderscience Publishers

The institutional co-evolution in diffusion of hydroelectric power technology

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The introduction and significant momentum on diffusion of wind power as a new technology for energy production involve a push for changing the institutional framework in the energy sector. The introduction of hydro (electric) power technology and the following institutional change process may be compared to the introduction of wind power 90 years later. In this paper, the main focus is on the institutionalisation process of the production control and electricity distribution control associated with the diffusion of hydroelectric power in Norway during the period 1906 to 1920. The municipalities were able to institutionalise their ownership of the small-scale hydroelectric power system with the support of the national authorities in competition with foreign capital. When large scale hydro power technology was introduced, the municipalities were able to keep their control of the electricity system while in conflict with the national state, because of the institutional empowerment of the municipalities in the first phase.

Keywords: conflicts, hydro power control, institutional change, municipality influence, new technology trajectory, hydroelectric energy, electricity distribution, Norway, small-scale hydro, wind power, large-scale hydro, renewable energy

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